Falling Oil Prices Presents Opportunity

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs

With the recent decline in the price of oil, many investors are wondering, where the opportunity is to make money from the decline? As I have stated before, my investing motto is always to keep it simple; which in this case would mean "simply buy oil stocks."

Over the past few months, the price of oil has unexpectedly fallen from over $100 a barrel to the $50 range. Neither economist, market analysts, or oil industry experts saw this decline coming. So I believe it is safe to say that no one, certainly including myself, knows were the price of oil is going in the near future. But with that being said, I think most would agree the use of oil is not going away in the near future. Oil is and will be the most widely used form of energy in the coming years, despite the rise of natural gas, solar or any other form of energy which currently exists.

The fall in the price of oil has caused oil stocks to decline. For example, Exxon Mobile (XOM) is down more than 8% over the past six months while Chevron (CVX) is off by nearly 14%. Smaller players like Anadarko Petroleum (APC) is off by nearly 22% and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) is off by 32% as the price of oil has fallen during the second half of the year. These types of declines have been felt throughout the industry.

One of the first and most common antidotes we are taught as investors is "buy low, sell high." When stocks fall, their price is low or at least lower than it was, which means if you believe in the company, or in this case the industry, then now is the time to buy. Continue reading "Falling Oil Prices Presents Opportunity"

Sterling Back in the Game?

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex

This week was undoubtedly a busy week for FX traders, with the utter meltdown of the Russian Ruble followed by Putin’s speech, the across-the-board selloff in emerging markets and the surprise negative rate announced by the Swiss National Bank. What this week won’t be remembered for is a Pound Sterling turnaround, yet I intend to illustrate in this article that that might just be in the cards.

Across the Channel

The fact that the Pound Sterling has shed value against the almighty Dollar might not come as a surprise; after all, the Dollar has rallied across the board as the Fed turned hawkish and the economy accelerated. But what is a surprise is why the Pound Sterling, the currency of an economy which has grown at an annual pace of 3%, has been essentially flat versus its European peer, the Euro? In short, after a robust performance from the UK economy, investors are beginning to get the sense that rather than continue accelerating the UK is been dragged down by the woes across the Channel with Europe pulling UK growth potential down. Below, the two major charts that made investors ponder and Sterling stagger.

Core Inflation Tumbles
Core Inflation Tumbles

The first and foremost piece of data is inflation, but not just headline inflation which is also affected by external factors such as Oil prices (which, as we all know, happen to be collapsing) but core inflation that isolates external volatile factors including energy and food. As you can see in blue, UK Core Inflation just took a nose dive, hitting 1.2%, just 0.5% above the Eurozone’s 0.7% core inflation rate. With such a collapse in inflation expectations investors are beginning to question the UK recovery, wondering instead if growth is about to slow rather than accelerate, or perhaps that wage growth is not just around the corner as the pundits have said, and that maybe the Eurozone’s own stagnant growth is dragging the UK down along with it.

Thereafter, comes job market data; although unemployment has fallen to 6% it’s stubbornly fixed at this level and the claimant count rate, which measures the fall in unemployed (as seen in our second chart) has slowed down in pace. That had led investors to ponder that perhaps the job market is about to reverse some of its earlier job gains and that unemployment could nudge a bit higher.

Claimant Court Reverses
Claimant Court Reverses

This has all led to one very basic question; are rate hikes in the UK really on the table next year? What with inflation in a nose dive, wages failing to rise and unemployment perhaps on the verge of a hike? Certainly, the possibility of a rate hike being pushed back into 2016 seems, especially after those readings, more probable. And that pretty much explains the flat performance of Sterling even against a battered Euro.

Retail Sales Changes the Game?

So what is the game changer? We have established the reason(s) why Sterling has been stagnant thus far but what makes investors think the game has changed? In two words: retail sales. The robust retail sales figure coming out of the UK on Thursday, a 6.4% (YOY) gain, surprised even the most optimistic investors. That unexpectedly positive figure has resulted in yet another possible scenario for Sterling watchers; say, the one in which the recent mild UK data was just a temporary bump or a minor glitch, and that the UK is actually gearing up towards another fall in unemployment, a rise in wages and maybe even a rate rise in 2015.

Matching Technicals and Fundamentals

As seen in the chart below the reaction in the market was not too late to arrive and the EUR/GBP quickly took a nose dive amid renewed Sterling bets. This could very well be the start of another push south for the pair, especially considering the formidable resistance the pair has generated and how this resistance pattern was reinforced today. But, and although this could be the signal for the start of another bearish push in the pair, more needs to happen. Next week’s final Q3 GDP reading may very well provide that fuel, that impetus, which can push the pair below the 0.777 level. However, most investors are eying December’s CPI data and 4th quarter GDP which is due out next month. Because if those two readings follow suit after the robust retail sales numbers, the 0.777 support could be broken, and as the chart illustrates below, the next support for the pair may be quite distant, creating a potentially long bearish cycle for the pair and taking the Sterling bullish bet back into the game. So, if you are in it for the long haul, be patient; Sterling just may surprise you for the better.


Look for my post next week.

Lior Alkalay
INO.com Contributor - Forex

Disclosure: This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from INO.com) for their opinion.

Buy Qualcomm (QCOM) While It’s Cheap


QCOM Chart

On July 23rd of this year, shares of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) stock were quoted at $81.97, representing the highest price they've reached all year. At the time, its P/E ratio was just north of 20. In an overpriced market, for a company of Qualcomm's caliber - whose double digit earnings growth is projected to hold steady in the long term - one would logically think it was a rare bargain at the time.

But the way in which QCOM's priced has moved in recent months has been largely devoid of logic. On Friday, December 12th, the stock closed at $70.59, just 4% above its 52-week low. The price is indicative of a 14% drop which occurred within just 5 months of hitting its high point. That’s a 34% annualized drop in price.

Speculation Has Been Hurting QCOM's Stock Price

...But for any well-known stock, speculative-based price movements never seem to hold steady in the long term.

Whenever a company has at least some level of earnings growth, its stock becomes an attractive target when its price takes a large enough dip to push it into value territory. In the case of QCOM, this would apply at its current price level. Continue reading "Buy Qualcomm (QCOM) While It’s Cheap"

Is The Dollar Overvalued?

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex

The US economy just seems to get better and better; better than robust retail sales, knockout earnings in payrolls and confident consumers raring and ready to spend more and more. Yet, after a rally that stretched all the way from early May, the last few days have been rather mixed for the Dollar, turning its monthly return against peer currencies into a virtual flat line. What might be the reason for that and should it affect your FX strategy? The answer to those questions is our focus for today.

The Growth Gap

If the outlook for the US economy and the US Dollar are so positive, what then could make investors question their Dollar bullish bets? Continue reading "Is The Dollar Overvalued?"

Befriend The December Volatility!

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs

As we roll through the second week of December, the markets seem to be going a little crazy as the year comes to an end. From January 1st until November 28th of this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 7.02% while the S&P 500 was up 10.6%. But, over the first week and a half of December, the Dow has lost 1.68% while the broader S&P 500 has fallen 2.04%.

Furthermore, the bulk of those declines came earlier this week when the markets closed lower Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And not only did the major indexes end the sessions off the mark, but their intraday lows put the indexes down by more than 1.25% on two of the three trading sessions.

The downward pressure being felt earlier this week could easily be blamed on a number of things which I am sure they were by many of the pundits out there; oil prices falling, oil prices rising, issues in Europe and Draghi not doing enough, slowing growth in Asia, weak growth numbers here at home, a poor start to the holiday shopping season, the list could go on and on. But, I personally don't believe any of those reasons are why the market has recently been falling.

The December Dive

Continue reading "Befriend The December Volatility!"